4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

SDSU ham-hands itself a lawsuit

Student accused — then cleared — of sexual assault says damage was done

Hepner Hall at SDSU
Hepner Hall at SDSU

A former San Diego State University student who was accused — charges were later dismissed — of sexual assault on a student in December of last year plans to take legal action against San Diego State University over the university's handling of the complaint.

Francisco Paiva Sousa filed a claim with California State University's risk management department on April 30. The claim is the first step in a lawsuit. Sousa, a foreign student from Portugal, was arrested on suspicion of forced copulation and false imprisonment of a fellow student on December 9 of last year. Days later, the district attorney's office dismissed the charges.

But the damage, says Sousa, was already done. In the days after the female student made the allegations, San Diego State's Center for Student Rights and Responsibilities had refused to meet with Sousa and declined to see text messages and other evidence, which Sousa says would have proved his innocence.

Most damaging for Sousa was the Community Safety Alert that the university sent via email days after the complaint notifying the students of the assault and naming Sousa as the alleged suspect.

"[San Diego State] could have at least researched the case and investigated the girl’s claims and not rushed to conclusions," said Sousa in a May 8 interview. "There was definitely no need to send a mass email with my name to every student before neither conducting a proper investigation nor giving me the right to defend myself, and that placed my emotional and physical integrity in danger. I would have shown them the text messages and pictures I had that undoubtedly proved that the girl lied, and none of this would have ever happened.”

Last month, Sousa sued the university for failing to meet with him after the complaint had been made, as was reported by the Reader. In that complaint, Sousa demanded access to investigation materials.

Now, Sousa wants the university to pay for the damage it inflicted, and he wants the university to change their policy regarding assault charges in order to prevent other students from being labeled a sexual predator before the charges are investigated.

Sexual assaults on campus have plagued San Diego State University's administration during the past year.

In October of last year, students gathered for campus-wide demonstrations, protesting the university's lackluster response to sexual assaults on campus. The negative press from the protests, says Sousa, prompted some university administrators from the Center for Student Rights and Responsibilities to take a hard line on the accusations against him. Within days, administrators not only denied meetings but also ordered Sousa to stay off campus.

“I believe I was a scapegoat. [San Diego State] was under scrutiny after a series of protests over sexual assaults on campus. They essentially used me as an example. It was just wrong. News reached international levels. My family suffered too much and my grandfather had to go to the hospital in shock. It’s been a horrible experience that no one else should have to go through.

"At the very least [San Diego State] should send another mass email to students saying that charges had been dropped, to clear my name over this and try to minimize the harm they caused me. But they haven’t done that so far and that is why I am filing this lawsuit. At least I hope that my attitude helps the system to be improved and prevent other innocent people to be falsely accused and publicly prejudged, suffering as I did. A girl’s lie and [San Diego State] attitude basically destroyed my life and have severely harmed me emotionally, physically, and financially. I hope justice is made for the hell they made me go through."

Sousa has since left San Diego and is attending college elsewhere. A spokesperson for San Diego State University declined to comment on the case or the policy of sending Community Safety Alerts via email before investigations are conducted.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Wahoo send anglers to the ER

Their Hawaiian name, ‘ono’, means ‘delicious’
Hepner Hall at SDSU
Hepner Hall at SDSU

A former San Diego State University student who was accused — charges were later dismissed — of sexual assault on a student in December of last year plans to take legal action against San Diego State University over the university's handling of the complaint.

Francisco Paiva Sousa filed a claim with California State University's risk management department on April 30. The claim is the first step in a lawsuit. Sousa, a foreign student from Portugal, was arrested on suspicion of forced copulation and false imprisonment of a fellow student on December 9 of last year. Days later, the district attorney's office dismissed the charges.

But the damage, says Sousa, was already done. In the days after the female student made the allegations, San Diego State's Center for Student Rights and Responsibilities had refused to meet with Sousa and declined to see text messages and other evidence, which Sousa says would have proved his innocence.

Most damaging for Sousa was the Community Safety Alert that the university sent via email days after the complaint notifying the students of the assault and naming Sousa as the alleged suspect.

"[San Diego State] could have at least researched the case and investigated the girl’s claims and not rushed to conclusions," said Sousa in a May 8 interview. "There was definitely no need to send a mass email with my name to every student before neither conducting a proper investigation nor giving me the right to defend myself, and that placed my emotional and physical integrity in danger. I would have shown them the text messages and pictures I had that undoubtedly proved that the girl lied, and none of this would have ever happened.”

Last month, Sousa sued the university for failing to meet with him after the complaint had been made, as was reported by the Reader. In that complaint, Sousa demanded access to investigation materials.

Now, Sousa wants the university to pay for the damage it inflicted, and he wants the university to change their policy regarding assault charges in order to prevent other students from being labeled a sexual predator before the charges are investigated.

Sexual assaults on campus have plagued San Diego State University's administration during the past year.

In October of last year, students gathered for campus-wide demonstrations, protesting the university's lackluster response to sexual assaults on campus. The negative press from the protests, says Sousa, prompted some university administrators from the Center for Student Rights and Responsibilities to take a hard line on the accusations against him. Within days, administrators not only denied meetings but also ordered Sousa to stay off campus.

“I believe I was a scapegoat. [San Diego State] was under scrutiny after a series of protests over sexual assaults on campus. They essentially used me as an example. It was just wrong. News reached international levels. My family suffered too much and my grandfather had to go to the hospital in shock. It’s been a horrible experience that no one else should have to go through.

"At the very least [San Diego State] should send another mass email to students saying that charges had been dropped, to clear my name over this and try to minimize the harm they caused me. But they haven’t done that so far and that is why I am filing this lawsuit. At least I hope that my attitude helps the system to be improved and prevent other innocent people to be falsely accused and publicly prejudged, suffering as I did. A girl’s lie and [San Diego State] attitude basically destroyed my life and have severely harmed me emotionally, physically, and financially. I hope justice is made for the hell they made me go through."

Sousa has since left San Diego and is attending college elsewhere. A spokesperson for San Diego State University declined to comment on the case or the policy of sending Community Safety Alerts via email before investigations are conducted.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Half-baked tracks with organic music quality

Local Natives, Nicey Nice World, Sully Band, Deaf Club, Steve Poltz
Next Article

Six String Society’s Pianotastic project

Kenneth Rexrode brings concert theatrical to Oceanside
Comments
1

Thank god he is standing up against the school

May 12, 2015

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories Fishing Report — What’s getting hooked from ship and shore From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Outdoors — Weekly changes in flora and fauna Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Street Style — San Diego streets have style Surf Diego — Real stories from those braving the waves Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close